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Number of Certificate Earners Grow

by NSC Blog | May 17, 2024 | Research Reports, Signature Reports

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s 2024 Undergraduate Degree Earner’s report shows that more students earned a certificate last year than in any of the last 10 years.

More than 670,000 students earned an undergraduate certificate during the 2022-2023 academic year, a 3.9% increase over the previous academic year. There were more certificate earners among traditional college-aged students, 18-20 years of age, than any other age group. Nearly 154,000 students in this age group earned a certificate, a 10.9% increase over the previous year.

The top fields for certificate earners include health professions and related clinical sciences (194,571); business, management, marketing, and related support (77,875); liberal arts and sciences (55,118); and mechanic and repair (43,604). Each of the top 10 major fields for certificate completers experienced a year-over-year increase except for business, management, marketing, and related support (-6.1%). Notably, there was a 1.6% increase in certificate earners in health professions but fewer bachelor’s (-4.5%) and associate degree earners (-3.3%) in that field.

As more students pursue non-degree credentials, such as certificates, the Research Center’s reports enable academic leaders and policymakers to stay apprised of key trends in higher education that impact their state’s institutions, including current term enrollment estimates,  transfer rates, and college completions

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